WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 2, 2015): The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC), the National Urban League, and 15 other national and regional civil rights, professional, intergovernmental, and community-based organizations filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission in support of the Commission’s efforts to modernize the Lifeline program to include subsidized access to high-speed broadband. The filing’s 17 signators (collectively, “Lifeline Supporters”), representing tens of thousands of diverse voices across the nation, also include the NAACP, League of United Latin American Citizens, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Rainbow PUSH Coalition, among others.
The Lifeline program, established in 1985 to help low-income Americans access essential communications services they could not otherwise afford, currently covers landline telephones only and offers just one subsidy per household. As the FCC has acknowledged, the telecommunications landscape is changing, with more households discontinuing landline telephone service and opting for mobile and broadband connections which have become essential factors toward success in today’s digital economy. In addition to supporting the Commission’s efforts at modernizing the Lifeline program to include a subsidy for broadband Internet service, the Lifeline Supporters urged the agency to change the “one-per-household” rule to “one-per-adult” to accommodate household sharing trends among impoverished families (with multiple, unrelated adults living in one household) in order to ensure these individuals will qualify for the Lifeline program. [click to continue…]